Category Archives: Giveaway

Glory Song by Redman & The Answer by Camp

Sometimes I have an opportunity to listen to and review new music and because many of my friends and family love Christian pop radio music I agreed to review two new CDs. Both came with the promise of a free giveaway and because I love you, the readers of this site, here are my reviews. Comment below or on Facebook to win. Winners will be chosen at random on October 15, 2017.

Glory Song
by Matt Redman
sixsteprecords
September 2017

My biggest problem with this album and the songs on it are previous works by Redman. There are no 10,000 Reasons here. Instead, we get, in my opinion, very basic lyrics – listen to, for instance, the beginning of the song All Glory, All Glory the song. And, yes, that is an illustration, an illustration that is, – on mellow and same-ish music ready made for Christian radio. And that’s not a great thing, in my opinion. None of the songs rise to the level of interesting, creative or complicated.

That said, listeners who came looking for Redman will find enough of the same Redman to love this album. Listeners looking for “safe for the whole family” music will find it here. Listeners looking for something mellow and encouraging with easy to remember lyrics will enjoy Glory Song. And since music is mostly all about taste preferences, I’ll just agree to disagree and set this aside.

The Answer
by Jeremy Camp
Sparrow
October 2017

When I was first introduced to Jeremy Camp it was as an alternative to secular music. He was supposed to be good-for-the-soul pop rock and some of those early songs weren’t bad. Recently – say the last decade – he has become known for his worship songs and covers, Like 2015’s Same Power, and soft rock songs like, He Knows (both from I Will Follow.)

The Answer is very similar to, but not as good as I Will Follow. He has the same soft rock vibe going for the most part, but adds some electronic noise, like in the already constantly playing on radio, Word of Life, or even a Jon Bon Jovi-esq Awake O Sleeper (reminds me a lot of Young Guns.)

While some of the songs do stretch the sound of Camp, I found the album to be strongly, firmly forgettable. Obviously, I’m in the minority here based on the radio play that Word of Life is already getting. But I’m tired of songs that all sound the same and artists who don’t push themselves or evolve. I firmly believe that Camp can do better. Just my opinion.

Don’t forget to comment here or on Facebook if you think my opinion is totally rubbish and you want a copy of the CD(s).


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

A copy of each of the CDs was provided in exchange for a review.

Humble Comics Bundle Doctor Who presented by Titan Comics


Humble Bundle – one of our favorite sites for PC and Android games, books, and comics where a portion of your payment (you choose the amount) goes to support charity – is hosting a new Doctor Who comic bundle! Go check it out while you have a chance!

This collection is in our opinion a must buy. We’ve purchased the bunch and found some favorites. One of them is the San Diego Comic Con 2015 exclusive story featuring several fan favorite Doctors.

We weren’t able to attend Comic Con in Sand Diego so getting our hands on this special was a bonus! It features the 12th Doctor and Clara visiting Comic Con to take selfies… actually to introduce the reader to the characters. We get a very Galaxy Quest-ish story about an enemy that shows up with the convention goers thinking its part of the show. (In another very short story we see the War Doctor on Marinus for another clipped intro to that under-developed character. It is only 6 pages.)

What we liked about this aren’t the stories, per se, but the fact that a whole new group of fans may be introduced to the Doctor in a couple iterations.

Get the whole set for a crazy good price – while you can.

The Humble Comics Bundle: Doctor Who presented by Titan Comics

Truly Dalek-table comics. It’s about time (lord) for the Doctor Who Comics Bundle to regenerate! This incarnation, it’s a multi-volume collection from our friends at Titan Comics. It’s only available for two weeks, so don’t blink and miss it!

Pay $1 or more for Doctor Who: Agent Provocateur #1-6, Doctor Who: Rippers Curse #1-3, Doctor Who: When Worlds Collide #1-3, Doctor Who: As Time Goes By #1-4, Doctor Who: Fugitive #1-4, Doctor Who: Through Time and Space #1-6, and Doctor Who: Body Snatched #1-2.

Pay $8 or more and you’ll also get Doctor Who: The Forgotten #1-6, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who, Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Vol 1, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Vol 1, Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #1 (mini-series), Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #1, Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #1, Doctor Who: SDCC Exclusive 2015, and Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #16.

Pay $15 or more for all of that plus Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Vol 2, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Vol 2, Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Vol 1, Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #1 (ongoing series), Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #11, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #11, Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #6, and Doctor Who: The Third Doctor #1.

Pay $1 or more. Together, these comics would cost over $209. Here at Humble Bundle, though, you name your price of $1 or more!

Read them anywhere. These comics are available in multiple formats including CBZ, PDF, and ePub, so they work on your computer, e-readers, iPads, cell phones, and a wide array of mobile devices! Instructions and a list of recommended reading programs can be found here.

Support charity. Choose where the money goes – between the publisher, Titan Comics, and BBC Children in Need. For details on how this works, click here. If you like what we do, you can leave us a Humble Tip too!

Family Christian Store Giveaway

familyFamily Christian Store is a nonprofit online and physical store that sells Christian and family books, music, movies, decor and apparel. If you’ve visited a local Christian book store you’ve seen the types of products for sale. I was invited to try out the online store and to share my experience. Normally this kind of post is not a good match for this site’s readers. However, because of the mission of this organization (and their offer of a chance to win a gift card for our readers!) I made an exception.

The first thing you notice when visiting us that there seem to always be discounts: 20% off of you receive email or text alerts, BOGO 50%, $10 off $50 with code all shoe in the first page. You’ll value those as the process of products tend to be priced higher than non-Christian Stores.

I looked through knickknacks and books and noticed a trend to focus highly on current movie tie ins. It’s what sells are what people want so it makes sense even if those things are not something I personally like. There is a lot to like, though, for anyone who enjoys Christian music or books.

After checking out the store I looked at the most important page on the site: the about page. It’s incredibly impressive. From donating bibles to people in countries that don’t have access or can’t afford to supporting orphans, like in Haiti, and adoptions to supporting missions trips to provide shoes, fix homes, install stoves and more to storm clean up Family Christian Stores is making a difference.

This is a small site with a limited selection that costs more than Amazon or Walmart. When you know that the additional price you’re paying for a book goes to communities in need, however, it makes it easier to pay.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This post was sponsored by Family Christian store.

Humble Audiobook Bundle Worlds of Doctor Who


In their newest audiobook bundle, Humble Bundle presents 16 dramatized Doctor Who serials for a minimum of $15 – with you choosing how much of that goes to charity!

We’ve taken a listen and – for fans of the Doctor, like us – we find this a must buy! Each features dramatization with souhnd effects, music and cast.

Our favorites are the Cybermen stories (4 audio serials) by Nicholas Briggs (Published September 20th 2005 by Big Finish Productions) are firmly rooting in the Doctor Who world, although the heroes are all human. Humanity is about to become extinct with the Orion war getting larger, we follow these stories to see how they handle their looming destruction at the hands of the Cybermen. Like true serials we don’t ever get a full conclusion (do you want Doctor Who to end?) but we do get a fun adventure and likeable characters.

The Biggest Story by DeYoung and Clark

biggestBeautiful. Connected. Clear.

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden
Written by Kevin DeYoung
Illustrated by Don Clark
Crossway
August 2015

Don Clark does an amazing job illustrating this children’s story book of the big picture of redemption. His artwork is angular, colorful and full of allusions about deeper things than the words express. The bold colors are vivid and hold the attention of children very well.

Kevin DeYoung isn’t known for his children’s books or even topics that would be safe for children. (The last book I read of his was What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? published in April 2015, for example.) Reformed and a prominent voice at the Gospel Coalition, I was taken aback by the way he so minimalizes and then stretches the Gospel in a way that children can fully understand.

I am a teacher and preacher myself and also have been blessed to teach Kindergarten children for most of the last decade so I know first hand the simple but clear way that the huge truths of the Bible have to be expressed to children. This isn’t the end of their studies. DeYoung doesn’t have to go into the Trinity, explain sacrifice and atonement or justification, or even spend much time at all on sanctification or eschatology. A simple, “We haven’t seen the end of the story -not yet. We live in the beginning of the end of the story… we know it’s not the end because we haven’t made it back to the garden” (p 120) fully expresses the hope of eternity without systematic theology. And kids love this because they get it. We follow the first Adam or the second Adam (p 129) makes sense. It plants seeds for us, other teachers and their own studies to grow over the years.

This is a fantastic book. An amazing, beautiful, poignant, simple, clear and deep book. And it’s for every Christian tradition. What an accomplishment by DeYoung. I highly recommend it.

Congratulations to Jessica B. of Smyrna, TN for winning a copy of this book!


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Unmaking by Nordeman

unmakingVanilla. Safe. Same.

The Unmaking
by Nichole Nordeman
Sparrow
August 2015

This is a perfect album for fans of soft pop, safe for the whole family, vanilla Christian music. There isn’t anything wrong with the songs, but there isn’t anything great about them either. Fans will love this EP, while newer listeners will wonder at the inflated ratings.

There are a couple songs on this album that will certainly get airtime. Unmaking, the title track, is the only mostly upbeat song and it’s easy to sing along to. Slow Down fits in great with other nostalgic patent songs like Cinderella and Butterfly Kisses and will be a favorite for many.

All six flow easily together without changing much and definitely not challenging the artist. Nichole Nordeman is a very good singer and could do so much more with her voice than these songs ask of her.

Congratulations to Mary A. of Menifee, CA for winning a copy of this album!


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This album was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code

piratesThe movie is about a boy and a girl who join a secret pseudo-governmental society (that they have unbeknownst family ties to) and quickly find themselves fighting against a shadowy plot to take over the world using sci-fi tech and cleverness. The film is filled with former A or B level actors who fill in as aging comedy relief, evil geniuses or beloved mentors. If you were thinking about Spy Kids (or any of the sequels) you’d pretty much be right.

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Pirate’s Code
Pure Flix
June 2015

In this movie it is Mickey and Sully who stop the plotting of the “pirate” Ironsides with the aid of Mickey’s [SPOILER] grandfather (who was supposed to be dead; and sadly looks it). Former bigger name or bigger recognition actors fill up the movie: Christopher Lloyd (Grandpa), Frank Collison (Ironsides), Tia Carrere (Lynch – she is oddly not listed in IMDB or Amazon, but she is in it), etc.

As far as family films go this is standard fare. It’s clean, fun, cheesy, a little action and drama but no death or fear instilling moments… and most importantly – loved by kids. My boys (5 and 9) loved this. Just like they love Spy Kids, Sky High, or Sharkboy and Lavagirl and other very similar films. It’s tolerable for parents as well.

If you’re looking for a fun, family night movie I recommend this one to you.

Congrats to Robert B. of Smyrna, TN for winning a copy of this movie!


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This film was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Empires by Hillsong United

unitedHillsong United is responsible for Oceans, Hosanna, Lead Me To the Cross, The Stand, The Desert Song and others that have for some defined the last decade or so of Christian Worship. The question is how does Empires stack up as a worship album? For me, I’m not sure.

Empires
Hillsong United
Hillsong
May 2015

In my opinion, this album is a mixed bag of a few really good songs and a lot of mediocre songs that don’t resonate for various reasons, like, some low key performances, issues with lyrics, and a performance focus.

Many of the songs fail to find crescendo after build up for several minutes of slow, deliberate and low key singing. Very introspective but after a long time – and many songs on this album are very long – they fail to pay off. The music tends to build, but the singing really doesn’t. Other songs are excellent in this regard. Touch the Sky, Prince of Peace, and Even When It Hurts all build and pay off and are the best songs on the album in my opinion.

Many songs have complicated, non-rhyming verses. I’m all for this for songs I listen to. But for songs I want to sing along to, I prefer ones I can anticipate the next verse and learn after hearing only a few times. See Prince of Peace for a very popular song on this album that exemplifies this. It’s gonna take a while to learn all the words and even more if you try to translate this for church service. This is a problem for several songs: they are catchy but ultimately not something easily translatable to a church setting in my opinion because they are too heavily produced with electronic noise to make the jump to Sundays. Great performances, but tough to sing along to and play along with. We’ll end up with acoustic versions if at all. (For an example of what I mean, search YouTube for “Touch the Sky acoustic.” It was recorded in Nashville and has several plugged in electronic devices needed to give the song its produced sound. It’s not acoustic at all.)

One song SHOULD be the big single but may fail to find a place in church: Even When It Hurts (Praise Song). This is a song that has a message that fits very well in American churches, a sort of updated worshipful Praise You in the Storm. It builds to a satisfying conclusion. It has a great beat. The words are easy to learn and fun to sing. And it cusses. Yeah, it cusses on the album version. Most of us won’t have an issue with this in our cars or homes singing along, but in a church service we tend to be more conservative than when we step outside the walls.

(Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8tvOKMp5u4 – the live version is much easier to listen to than the album version, which has a lot more electronic noise that can at times make it hard to hear. The live version is also a clean version. Yeah, a clean version of a worship song. I didn’t think I’d ever say that.)

Every album has hits and misses. This one has several hits and time will tell if any of them rise to the level of the great United songs.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Exhale by Plumb

plumbI’ve been a fan of Plumb since the late 90s – The Late Great Planet Earth blew me away back in the day! – and I am very excited to say that this album is everything I’d hoped for.

Exhale
by Plumb
Curb
May 2015

I recently had a chance to listen to and review a so-called worship album by Christy Nockels that sounded a ton like CCM. Contrast that with this album, which many would expect to be CCM due to the hit Lord, I’m Ready Now has been playing in high rotation on CCM stations, which is actually more of a worship album. A rock worship album, but hey, that’s good for me.

Of the songs on this album, my favorites are Smoke, Resurrection and Broken Places. In fact, the first 7 songs are the best in my opinion. After that, they get more introspective and the sound moves away from lyrical rock, which I think Plumb does best. Overall, this is a great album for rock fans of Plumb and CCMers looking for something new and a little deeper than the average CCM.

Congrats to Christopher H. of Victorville, CA.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This CD was provided by the publisher via FlyBy Promotions as a review copy.

Let It Be Jesus by Christy Nockels

nockelsI’ve enjoyed listened to Watermark and Passion in the past, both Christy Nockels. I recognize that when it comes to music, personal tastes will drive a lot of whether or not someone enjoys something. All that to say that you may very well enjoy this album and I hope you understand when I say that I didn’t as much as I thought I would.

Let it Be Jesus
by Christy Nockels
sixstepsrecords
April 2015

Let it Be Jesus was recorded live, but doesn’t flow like a normal service. There is almost no background noise, crowd noise or continuation from one song to another on most tracks. (Some do have noticeable crowd noise especially towards the end, like If You Never, but once done, the sound starts completely over, like on Leaning On You.) I found most of the songs to be much more CCM than worship oriented. What I mean is that most songs were from the perspective of the singer and what God has done for them or what they will do now that they have God, which is what CCM usually covers. Examples include, Rock of Ages, Find Me at the Feet of Jesus, or My Anchor. Most songs are not directed at God, which is what you would find in worship songs. (This isn’t all of them, of course. Leaning on You is a very good worship song directed toward God.) Some songs were hard to describe. I’m not sure what Everything is Mine in You is about. I’d like to read more about that Theology. I can guess, but it’s not clear, which I think worship should be. (Again, preferences, right?)

Also most songs tend not to build or swell. Very little urgency in them. Ballad focused (again the CCM focus). This is a shame as Nockels has a strong voice and could totally have rocked some more up tempo songs. The closest you get would be the overly happy Freedom Song or how My Anchor starts to build but then plateaus and stays at middling urgency. There isn’t an Oceans or Brave here.

Overall, I found this album to be a calm, relaxing CCM studio sounding album. A couple worship tracks but for the most part something we will find on the radio in coming months. You know, safe for the whole family stuff. As for me, I’ll grab Bethel or United next time I’m looking for something to worship along with.

Congrats to Kathrine E. of Murfreesboro, TN for winning a download of this album! For more chances to win, click the Giveaway page in the menu drop down above.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This CD was provided by the publisher as a review copy.